About the dynamics of European colonization

Image: Mahima


The tree that covers the forest – a response to Mário Maestri

Despite all attempts to condemn its obsolescence, the study and debate on the nature and dynamics of European colonization and the social formations it gave rise to in the Americas retain their decisive importance for Marxists.

And no less. From its conclusions emanate not only scientific premises, but, above all, programmatic consequences that guide contemporary political action. The fruitfulness of this controversy is due to the fact that, like few others, it presupposes the understanding of a contradictory totality that expresses the indissoluble unity of past and present, of the materialist conception of history and politics.

This makes it both an inescapable starting point for theoretical approaches to the origins of capitalism in Iberian America and the historical trends that structurally shaped our societies, and the foundation for defining the character of the present revolution: its strategy and the role of classes in this process.

Mário Maestri, a Brazilian academic who claims to have “finalized”, with a “Marxist bias”, a “vast research project on the War of the Triple Alliance”, wrote a review of the first chapter of my latest book,[I] dedicated precisely to the problem of European colonization of the Americas. Mário Maestri's article, regardless of its content, indicates the vitality of the controversy.

Criticism, in general terms, is an indispensable tool for the advancement of scientific knowledge. However, in order for it to perform this function, it must be supported by solid arguments that are coherent not only with the critic's logic, but also with the reality in question, the content and the method criticized.

This is not the case with Mário Maestri's article, a scholastic text, full of rhetorical tricks and puerile provocations. But this is not his main defect. The central problem lies in the method my critic employs. Maestri shamelessly resorts to falsifying other people's positions, twisting them to better fit the mold of his objections.

However, due to the importance of the issue, I take over the debate. Not with the intention of “finalizing” the controversy, but with the objective –after clearing the ground of Mário Maestri’s confusionist tricks– of further clarifying the analysis, the method and the theoretical-political conclusions that make up, until now, my approach to an extremely intricate problem, in the understanding of which it is not possible to advance through the competition of labels or with “magic words”. Thus, as in the “notes” I present in the book,[ii] I will face it without waiting for the lifeline of an unquestionable “category”, but making an effort to understand the contradictory content of the entire process and its main trends.

Three basic positions

It can be said that the Marxist debate on the character of Iberian colonization gave rise to three central interpretations, from which profound programmatic differences were derived, mainly around whether the objective of the Latin American revolution should be bourgeois-democratic or socialist.

Unable to expand on each of them, I will limit myself to schematizing their content.

Stalinism, in accordance with the unilinear vision of the “five stages” (primitive communism, slavery, feudalism, capitalism, socialism), which supposes an obligatory succession of modes of production arbitrarily applied to the history of all peoples, defended a supposed “past feudal” of Latin America. This thesis, in reality, served to historically justify the stage program that Moscow promoted in colonial or semi-colonial countries: first, the “anti-feudal” bourgeois-democratic revolution, conceived as an inevitable stage in which the proletariat would have to subordinate itself to the bourgeoisie.” progressive” to open the floodgates to capitalism and thus strengthen the social weight of the industrial proletariat; only “after” this bourgeois stage had been overcome could the socialist program be implemented.

This program-theory, with notable influence to this day in left-wing circles, took shape in a permanent collaboration with supposed “democratic, patriotic and anti-imperialist” sectors of the national bourgeoisies, through countless “popular fronts”, presented as progressive options in the face of “more reactionary” fractions of local capitalists and imperialism.

André Gunder Frank and other dependency theorists responded to the feudal thesis and its practical consequences with an equally unilateral and mistaken position: that Iberian America had been “capitalist” since the 16th century.[iii] This analysis certainly ignored the problem of production relations and distorted the concept of capitalism, linking it to a greater or lesser relationship with the market, that is, with the process of circulation of goods. The basic error consisted in confusing mercantile economy with the capitalist mode of production. In opposition to Stalinism's class conciliation program, Frank proposed a “purely” socialist program, disregarding the many democratic tasks pending in Latin American societies.

As we know, the heart of the debate lay in establishing the content of colonization, a complex problem – above all, as it was a historical period of transition on a global scale, in which the archaic had not finished dying and the new had not finished. to emerge and impose itself – and full of methodological dangers, mainly that of unilaterality. This explains the many interpretations that either universalize particular elements of the phenomenon, or commit the opposite error: denying or omitting the particularities in an alleged monochromatic totality.

In this “minefield”, a third position emerged in the debate. Nahuel Moreno[iv] wrote the text in 1948 Four thesis on Spanish and Portuguese colonization in America,[v] in which he proposes a contradictory whole: “Colonization has capitalist objectives, to obtain profit, but it is combined with non-capitalist production relations”.[vi] Formulated differently: this European enterprise, despite appealing to an unequal combination of different production relations, with a predominance of pre-capitalist ones, had a historical meaning dictated by the general trends of primitive capital accumulation in Europe.[vii]

Moreno's position

Let's develop the Argentine Trotskyist's position based on his main thesis: “The Spanish, Portuguese, English, French and Dutch colonization of America was essentially capitalist. Its goals were capitalist rather than feudal: to organize production and discovery to produce prodigious profits and place goods on the world market. They did not inaugurate a capitalist production system because there was not, in America, an army of free workers on the market. This is how colonizers, in order to exploit America in a capitalist way, are forced to resort to non-capitalist relations of production: slavery or semi-slavery of indigenous peoples. Production and discovery with capitalist objectives; slave or semi-slave relationships; Feudal forms and terminologies (as in Mediterranean capitalism), are the three pillars on which the colonization of America was established.”[viii]

This thesis contains the content of his interpretation. Despite certain inaccuracies, which bother Mário Maestri so much and which, as we will see, Moreno himself will later recognize in the light of the formulations of the Trotskyist intellectual George Novack, let us note that Moreno's first success is, mainly, methodological. He did not lose sight of the fact that the totality conditions the parts and not the other way around and, consequently, he proposed that, since the emergence of the world market in the 16th century, “there is no country in the world – much less the European and American countries – whose history can be interpreted in any other way than by referring, minute by minute, second by second, to the history of humanity as a whole.” Thus, the study of the history of a given country or region must always consider its peculiarities, but always understanding them “as part of this whole that is the world economy and politics”.[ix]

I believe this approach divides waters. Scholastics like Mr. Mário Maestri, as we will discuss, do not understand this logic and, in disagreement with Marxism, end up “putting the cart before the horse” by trying to explain the entirety of a problem through the sum of its parts.

Maestri falsifies Moreno's position

In any case, criticism of methodological options and conclusions has always been part of a healthy theoretical debate. The matter is complex and it is normal for it to give rise to many interpretations. Another thing, as I said at the beginning, are Mário Maestri's maneuvers.

The professor from Rio Grande do Sul attributes to Moreno and, consequently, to my work, the crude analysis of Frank and dependency, which asserts that “capitalism has always existed in the Americas”.

According to Mário Maestri, although with “more or less refined forms”, Moreno “generalized and radicalized that thesis for all times and for the three Americas”. With this, he would have abandoned the Marxist method, which starts from “…the development of material productive forces and, above all, their dominant social relations of production”.

This is false, Mr. Maestri. Firstly, Moreno did not propose that the character of colonization was “capitalist”, but “essentially” capitalist. It may seem like a subtle difference, but this precision is important as it indicates content and movement. The central idea is that the dynamics of Iberian colonialism, in addition to the archaic forms present in the structure and superstructure of colonized spaces, were intrinsically linked to the expansion of the world market dominated by commercial capital which, ultimately, would create the conditions for hegemony of the capitalist mode of production.

In this historical context, the needs of this “expanding international market” – which Maestri refers to several times without attributing historical content to it, as if it were an entelechy – will be the totality that will condition the constituent elements of our societies.

Is it admissible, without distorting what is written, to interpret “essentially capitalist character” as “capitalist since always”, as Maestri proposes? No, since there is no omission or ambiguity on this issue in the thesis that the Brazilian commentator criticizes. Don't force things, Mr. Maestri. Just read the text to understand that Moreno never defined colonial production relations as “capitalist”.

He states, unequivocally, that the colonizers “did not inaugurate a capitalist production system”, given that, given the lack of a “free” labor market, they were “forced to resort to non-capitalist production relations”. It's very clear. In this case, what is Maestri based on to maintain that Moreno ignored the particularity of the colony's social formations, thus disregarding the predominance of productive forces and production relations, typical of Marxist analysis?

Quite the opposite. What Moreno and other Marxists did was an effort to understand and establish the objective of this production in a historical sense and on a global scale.

This reading is based on the fact that the American colonies were never natural economic units, of strict subsistence. Since his arrival, the European conqueror sought to organize them as large-scale producers of exchange values, oriented towards a voracious global or, at least, regional market. This was the engine of colonization. Production for the domestic market and other endogenous phenomena will emerge, as proposed by Caio Prado Jr., subordinated to the dynamics of foreign trade, guided by demand from the European market and fluctuations in international prices of tropical products.[X]

Despite the contradiction that non-capitalist social relations implied, the “expanding international market” – although our critic abstracts this element from his conclusions – was, in turn, a fundamental piece of the broad process of primitive accumulation, “an accumulation – according to Marx – which is not the result of the capitalist mode of production, but its starting point”[xi], given that, as we know, it acted to dissolve the remains of feudalism in Europe and all sorts of archaic social relations in the world. In the American case, definitely, the decisive fact to determine the essentially capitalist meaning of European colonization will be the colonial relationship, inseparable from this process of genesis of capitalism, and not this or that native mode of production.

Therefore, the discussion is not whether or not there were particularities or whether the social formations that emerged in the Americas were “original” or not. Of course they were. No one questioned the “primacy” of production in the analysis or the fact that legally “free” labor was probably marginal until the beginning of the 20th century. This is one of the traps that Mário Maestri sets.

The bottom line is understanding what the objective of colonial production was – what it was organized for – and drawing all the conclusions; whether or not the order regime or the enslavement of indigenous or African people, among other non-capitalist forms of labor exploitation, were subordinated to the process of primitive accumulation of capital controlled by the metropolises.

Within this framework, commercial capital will penetrate the pores of colonial societies and, through slave planters, encomenderos, traders, etc. – who were essentially capitalists and, in many cases, not only participated in the process of circulation of goods, but also invested in production governed by the demand of the world market – will dominate the direct producers – indigenous people, mestizos, enslaved black people – from whom they will extract the social surplus, using, above all, extra-economic coercion, that is, resorting to open violence.

Mário Maestri does not identify this dialectical overlap. Just like Ciro Cardoso, Gorender and other “modoproductivists”, regardless of his political intentions, he fixes his gaze on a tree, certainly a leafy one, and loses sight of the forest.

Mário Maestri writes: “It is nonsense to propose capitalist colonization of America, since the 15th century, without capitalist production, without industrial bourgeoisie, without salaried workers, without a free labor market, with a very low level of development of material productive forces”.

Yes, this is nonsense, because, effectively, capitalism presupposes a “free” labor market, based on the total expropriation of the means of production from the working class and the transformation of labor power itself into merchandise. Moreno made mistakes, but not this one. He never proposed such a thing. Although it is also true, even if it contradicts our critic's schemes, that capitalism did not emerge overnight, with the sudden appearance of the first industrial worker.

It was imposed after a long, uneven and combined process, whose main impulses were production oriented towards the world market and colonialism. This implies that a theoretical effort is necessary to identify the essence, fundamental content and dynamics of this transition period.

While Jacob Gorender and his disciples believe they have solved this problem, in the Brazilian case, with the label of “colonial slavery”, it is worth briefly reviewing how Marx and Engels approached it.

Marx and Engels against Maestri

The so-called “primitive accumulation of capital” did not just consist of the violent expropriation, with bloodthirsty methods, of direct producers. The capitalist world market and colonial exploitation, as stated in The Manifest, were not only an important part of this process, but also constituted “the revolutionary element of the decomposing feudal society”[xii], opening the way – taking the form of “extermination, enslavement and subjugation of the native population in the mines”[xiii] – for the hegemony of the capitalist mode of production in Europe.

Manufacturing and, in general, the movement of production experienced an enormous boost thanks to the expansion of trade that occurred with the discovery of America and the sea route to the East Indies […] colonization and above all the expansion of markets until the formation of a world – expansion that then became possible and was taking place more and more, day after day – awakened a new phase of historical development […][xiv].

In 1848, Marx and Engels developed this idea: “The world market enormously accelerated the development of commerce, navigation, and the means of communication. This development reacted, in turn, on the expansion of industry; and, as industry, commerce, navigation and railways developed, the bourgeoisie grew, multiplying its capital and placing all the classes bequeathed by the Middle Ages in the background”.[xv]

Engels, in turn, was categorical in defining the bourgeois purpose of European colonization in America. He maintained that the time of the “(…) young man attracted by the riches of the Indies, by the gold and silver mines of Mexico and Potosí (…) was the time of the bourgeoisie’s knight-errantry (…), but on a bourgeois basis and with objectives , ultimately, bourgeois”[xvi].

[…] this desire to go far in search of adventures to find gold, even though it was carried out in principle under feudal and semi-feudal forms, was already essentially incompatible with feudalism, which was based on agriculture and whose conquest expeditions were essentially aimed at the acquisition of land. Furthermore, navigation was a decidedly bourgeois enterprise, which also imprinted its anti-feudal character on all modern war fleets.[xvii]

It is clear how Marxism approaches the issue in its entirety and in movement, without getting lost in the labyrinths of “forms”. The founders of scientific socialism, as we can read, defined a first and decisive location of the problem: the discovery and colonization of America were fundamental parts of the primitive accumulation of capital and played a role in dissolving, not stimulating, feudalism in Europe. On the other hand, they state that, although colonial exploitation was carried out “in principle” under “feudal forms”, its content “was already essentially incompatible with feudalism”.

This shows that Marx and Engels' main attention was on the movement of the thing and its mutations – “it was already essentially incompatible with…” – and not on the forms. Colonial conquest and exploitation, in short, were enterprises with “ultimately bourgeois objectives”. This is, let's face it, basically the same premise that Moreno will propose: “essentially capitalist” European colonization, despite “non-capitalist relations of production”. It is clear that, according to Marxist theory, Mário Maestri's criticism is unfounded. Of course, he has the right to disagree with Moreno – and with Marx and Engels –, but that does not authorize him to distort their positions.

Marx's dialectical approach to this problem becomes clear in another passage, in which he refers to the colonies that produced on a large scale for the world market.

In the second type of colonies – the large farms (plantations) – destined from the beginning to commercial speculation and with production aimed at the world market, there is capitalist production, although only formally, since black slavery excludes free wage earners, therefore the foundation of capitalist production. But it is the capitalists who carry out the slave trade. The mode of production they introduce does not come from slavery, but is grafted onto it. In this case, capitalist and land owner are the same person.[xviii]

Although Marx correctly defines slavery and wage labor as different things, it is clear that he does not conceive of modern slavery as something in itself, but as an anomalous part of a general movement of transition to capitalism. Based on this logic, he classifies the slave trader as “capitalist” and states that the production system introduced by these capitalists is not “slavery”, but that slavery is “grafted” into a broader whole. Therefore, he states: “the capitalist and the land owner are the same person”.

The fact that the world market-modes of production relationship, although contradictory, was controlled by a process with “ultimately bourgeois objectives” or “essentially capitalist”, as one prefers, becomes even clearer in this short passage written by Marx in 1858: “(…) If today we not only call the plantation owners in America capitalists, but if they in fact are capitalists, this is based on the fact that they exist as an anomaly within a world market founded on free work".[xx]

Let us note that, to define slave plantations, the decisive criterion was their insertion in the world market, and not the “way” in which they were produced. The latter was important, but not decisive. Hence Marx called planters capitalists, even though they produced through slave labor and not “free” wage labor.

Trapped in his own scheme, Mário Maestri accuses this vision of being “teleological”. He says: “American slave production was not prompted by capitalist production, nor was it organized to sustain it, as visions with a clear teleological meaning propose”. Elsewhere, he states: “without universal trade, there would be no 'big industry'. Which does not mean that it was built to support large industry!” You see, Mr. Maestri, no one here has a time machine that allows them to write since the 16th century and no one claims that there was some kind of divine design by which it was written that the hegemony of production would derive from the process of commercial and colonial expansion. capitalist and big industry.

Evidently, in the midst of this process, such a thing was just a historical alternative. What we are saying is that, in the 21st century, we are fully capable of analyzing what ended up happening. This is not teleology, Mr. Maestri, but a historical assessment that even Marx and Engels, in the mid-19th century, considered possible and necessary. The basic conclusion was that, in the context of the long, contradictory and unequal process of primitive capital accumulation, “universal trade” and “American slave production”, among other forms of pre-capitalist exploitation, were indispensable prerequisites, were “starting points” for the subsequent imposition of “capitalist production and large industry”. This is not “capitalist teleology”, Maestri, it is a historical balance supported by facts!

Still, obsessed with the particularity of each colony, Mário Maestri repeats: “It is the 'internal structure of colonial economies' that precedes the dominance of capitalism (…)”. Yes, that's obvious. But the internal structure of the colonies does not precede commercial capital or the world market, whose character and dynamics conditioned the constitution of our social formations, or did slavery in the Americas emerge from nowhere or sprout from trees, unrelated to the general process of emergence of world economy?

I believe that it is Mário Maestri who should pay attention to the order of factors in historical analysis. According to Marxism, the genesis of the process we are discussing is not in the “internal colonial structures”, but, as we mentioned, in the “expansion of trade that occurred with the discovery of America and the sea route to the East Indies (…given that) colonization and above all the expansion of markets until the formation of a world market (…) awakened a new phase of historical development […]”.[xx] It was this “new phase” that colossally boosted “manufacturing and, in general, the movement of production”[xxx]. Marxism is clear. It was the world market that revolutionized commerce, navigation and land communications, progress that, in the long term, led to the expansion of industry and the growth of the bourgeoisie.[xxiii]

The crux of the matter is that, for a long period, until the definitive triumph of capitalism and large industry, commercial capital unscrupulously exploited all types of non-capitalist social relations, including African slavery. Mário Maestri does not understand this contradictory movement, but in a “decidedly bourgeois” sense. Referring to the characteristics of capitalism and the importance of social relations of production in the analysis, our critic writes that: “for the Marxist method of interpretation, it is not important what is done, but how it is done”.[xxiii]

Note, Mr. Maestri, that, in historical terms, the logic of capital never expressed great concern with the “how” and used to its advantage, without mercy, all possible forms of exploitation, archaic or not, to produce on a large scale and extract social surplus from the exploited. Nowhere have “pure” social formations existed and will not exist. The contradictory unity between the old and the new is permanent. Among other things, this explains why, in the 21st century and under the undisputed rule of imperialist capitalism, there are more people enslaved in the world than at any other time in history.[xxv]. The facts do not corroborate the idea of ​​a capitalism that is careful with the “how” and the “forms”, as Mário Maestri’s scheme suggests.

Moreno and Frank: two different programs

We hope to have demonstrated that the attempt to associate our position with the vision and position of Gunder Frank and dependentism is puerile. Mário Maestri conveniently omits that Moreno himself did not hesitate to criticize Frank and his current, saying that his scheme, although opposed to the Stalinist thesis, was politically “as dangerous as the previous one [the feudal thesis]”.[xxiv]

George Novack, an intellectual from the US SWP, an organization that then maintained close relations with the Morenist current, made the same criticism: “Spain and Portugal created economic forms in the New World that had a combined character. They united pre-capitalist relations with trade relations, therefore subordinating them to the demands and movements of merchant capital”.[xxv]

Moreno claimed this formulation, recognizing it as even more precise than his own, an element that Mário Maestri simply “forgets”: “he gives a more precise name – wrote Moreno – to what I call 'capitalist objectives' in my analysis, mercantile capital, but it insists on the same as my thesis, on the non-capitalist character of production relations”.[xxviii]

However, from a Marxist rather than a commentator or contemplative perspective, the insurmountable difference between Moreno and Frank has always been in the program derived from one or another vision of the American colonial past. Frank, following his thesis of an “always capitalist” America, established a “purely” socialist program, omitting or belittling democratic tasks. Moreno opposed Frank's scheme to the program of permanent revolution, a decisive conclusion of his study on European colonization:

The theses of the permanent revolution are not the theses of the mere socialist revolution, but of the combination of the two revolutions, bourgeois-democratic and socialist. The need for this combination arises inexorably from the socioeconomic structures of our backward countries, which combine different segments, forms, relations of production and classes. If colonization was capitalist from the beginning, there is nothing more to do than the socialist revolution in Latin America and not a combination and subordination of the bourgeois-democratic revolution to the socialist revolution.[xxviii]

This difference, the most important of all, is also omitted by Mário Maestri.

I hope to have demonstrated that Moreno, without denying the particularity of the social formations that emerged from the European conquest, highlighted the existence of an unequal combination of production relations, although with a predominance of pre-capitalist ones, and, in the same act, proposed that these structures were, contradictorily, at the service of the long and unequal process of shaping capitalism on a global scale, the totalizing element that “ultimately” conditioned the content of regional particularities.

Thus, what Mário Maestri calls “hybridism” and a supposed contradiction in terminis, ultimately reveals a misunderstanding of dialectical logic, which conceives reality in perpetual movement, in which each phenomenon, intrinsically contradictory, contains within itself its own negation – which is why it was possible for non-capitalist social relations to serve as an engine for the subsequent hegemony of capitalist relations – and is permeated by a permanent struggle between the new and the old, the nascent and the outdated, until its transformation into something distinct through qualitative leaps.

From this perspective, as I propose in my book, the disjunctive, put in the extreme and pure sense, between “feudal” (liberalism and Stalinism) or directly “capitalist” (Frank and others) colonization is false and, therefore, misleading.

Admitting that this is an open and permanent debate, I consider that the best approach is to approach the essential content and dialectical movement of this historical process, without trying to encapsulate it in a label. Definitions are always a “necessary evil”. Although they are indispensable for systematizing the study of an object, at the same time they express the poorest part of the analysis, as they necessarily compress and “freeze” in one or two words countless elements of reality, concepts and discussions that have their own richness. There are intellectuals who, in love with a “multipurpose” category, stumble and transform the tool into an end in itself. Mário Maestri is one of them.

Moreno tried to get closer to the content instead of claiming “paternity” of a “new” concept. The synthesis he proposed explains both the contradictory character of production relations in colonial America and their nexus and role in the nascent world economy. His logic, I repeat, is essentially based on that of Marx and Engels.

Poor Copernicus!

Mário Maestri is shocked by my criticism of the concept of “colonial slave mode of production” developed by Jacob Gorender in 1978[xxix], although previously proposed by Ciro Cardoso.

He argues that Gorender would have solved the problem of defining the social relations of production that originated in colonial Brazil and, in doing so, “overcame” the traditional “feudalism-capitalism impasse” that has divided Latin American Marxism for decades. His admiration for Gorender leads him to assert, without much caution, that the “structural interpretation of Brazilian social formation” by the former leader of the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB) represented, attention, nothing less than a “Copernican revolution in Brazilian social sciences”. .[xxx]

The British historian EH Carr made a methodological recommendation that I consider extremely necessary: ​​“Study the historian (…) When you read a work of history, you try to know what is going on in the historian’s head”[xxxii]. With this in mind, let us ask who is that misunderstood genius to whom Maestri attributes such an intellectual feat.

Maestri himself responds: “A communist militant since his youth, Jacob Gorender had broken with the PCB and participated in the founding of the PCBR in 1968. An erudite thinker and profound knowledge of Marxism, dissatisfied with the analyzes of the Brazilian past and the break with reformism- Stalinism, in which he participated without real political-methodological criticism, undertook structural investigation of Brazilian social formation, from the second half of the 1960s onwards”.

It is regrettable that someone who at some point was active in the ranks of Trotskyism refers in such a complimentary way and considers a historical leader of Stalinism who, among other functions, was a professor of the “Stalin Courses” as a “communist” and “deep knowledge of Marxism”. of the PCB in the 1950s, a program of political deformation that, in Gorender's own words, “consisted of transmitting a uniformized doctrinal canon, which came from Moscow and the Cominform”, admitting that “(…) for us, at that time, it was the last word of humanity’s greatest genius. It was about strengthening the militants' loyalty to the socialist motherland, whose defense constituted an unconditional principle, incompatible with the slightest criticism”[xxxi]. Mário Maestri reveals that he did not learn something basic in his years in Trotskyism: Marxism and Stalinism are opposites.

In the nineties, Jacob Gorender ended up joining the Brazilian PT. The double process of capitalist restoration by the Soviet bureaucracy and the subsequent overthrow, by the hands of the proletariat and the masses of the former USSR and Eastern Europe, of the global apparatus of Stalinism between 1989 and 1991[xxxii], left our “deep knowledge of Marxism” in such a state of orphanhood and skepticism that he ended up openly breaking with scientific socialism.

In his last important work, Marxism without utopia, published in 1999, Gorender set out to “examine the core of the work of Marx and Engels” with the aim of unveiling the “utopian character of the entire Marxian construction or, at least, aspects of it”[xxxv] and, from there, review its essential postulates. Indeed, the basis of the “failure of Marxist-inspired social constructions”[xxxiv] in the 20th century it would reside, according to the Bahian author, in the supposed utopian and teleological elements of the Marxist project, which would have idealized, in particular, the nature of the social subject capable of overcoming capitalism. “The influence of the utopian propensity on Marx and Engels can be seen in their approach to the proletariat”[xxxiv], stated Gorender, since reality would have demonstrated that it was an “ontologically reformist” class[xxxviii] and, therefore, incapable of leading the fight for socialism. In its place, he proposed a new “revolutionary subject”, none other than the “intellectual wage-earning class”. Far from breaking with the “reformism-Stalinism in which he had participated…”, as Maestri proposes, Gorender definitively renounced Marxism.

In another text, Mário Maestri recognizes that both Gorender's “late surrender” and his rupture with “…some deep structures of the Stalinist creed – revolution in one country [sic]…” was “partial”. Still, he does not hesitate to consider him “the most creative Brazilian revolutionary Marxist”[xxxviii]. This enormous theoretical-political confusion demonstrates, to say the least, Maestri's eclecticism, which once again demonstrates that he has not fully understood the absolutely and irreversibly counter-revolutionary character of Stalinism.

However, although far from the supposed revolution in social thought that Maestri proposes, I have no doubt that colonial slavery It is a profound and coherent contribution that cannot be ignored in the debate. It is for this reason that I dedicate “a few pages” of my book to criticizing it, something that bothers Mário Maestri, who also likes to demand from his critics the exact bibliography with which they should question him. My intention, however, was never to undertake some kind of “anti-Gorender” or something similar, but to question its logic and essential theses.

Mário Maestri basically accuses me of despising the study of colonial modes of production, which I supposedly dissolve into a circulationist simplification. Against the method he attributes to me, he vindicates the method and concept defended by Gorender: “In colonial slavery, Jacob Gorender explains that, in Brazil, on the Caribbean islands, etc., the confrontation of two diverse social formations, the Iberian feudal-mercantilist, dominant, with the autochthonous, dominated one, did not produce a transposition of the first or a simple amalgamation between the two. But, on the contrary, it had given way to a singular reality – a way of producing “new” characteristics, “previously unknown in human history”. Hence the proposal of a “historically new mode of production”.

Let us avoid false controversies. I never questioned the original character or underestimated the particularities of the economic-social formations of colonial America, which were incomprehensible with the mechanistic and Eurocentric logic of the “five stages” proposed by Stalinism. If Mário Maestri had read carefully – or in good faith – the first chapter of my book, he would have come across this categorical statement: “It is the colonial relationship – and the degree of development of the productive forces of the metropolis, which in this case of the Iberian Peninsula transitioned from decadent feudalism to capitalism which, in turn, was unable to definitively impose itself – which will be imposed in a particular space. Consequently, the relations of production originating in that colonial space – with certain climatic and geographic conditions, more or less available workforce, pre-existing modes of production, specific culture and customs, etc. – will acquire the most diverse characteristics, hybrid and combined, but inserted in the general process of primitive accumulation of capital in Europe”.[xxxix]

Nor is it up for debate that “(…) in this combination of forms of production, the predominant one, in Brazil, the Antilles, the Guianas, the South of the USA, etc., was slavery”.[xl] This is also written, Mr. Maestri.

In short, the relevance of Ciro Cardoso’s concern to recognize “the specificity of colonial modes of production in America (…)” is not under discussion.[xi]

What I am discussing is the logic, the proposal and the political consequences, always with a Marxist approach, of providing these specificities with a false autonomy in relation to the “general process of primitive accumulation of capital in Europe” or, in other terms, in relation to the unequal process of development of world capitalism. The universalization of the particular is opposite to the Marxist method of analysis.

It is fair to recognize the success of Cardoso and, albeit belatedly, of Gorender, in criticizing the Stalinist dogma of the “five stages”. They argued, correctly, that both the development of productive forces and modes of production in America did not follow – and could not follow – the European “ladder”. However, Gorender, in his haste to deny the “feudal past-capitalist past” dichotomy, strove to elaborate a “general theory”[xliii] built from a fragmented apprehension of the totality and, with this, established a formal, non-dialectical relationship between the development of European capitalism and the character of social formations in countries of colonial origin.

Jaco Gorender stated his reasoning unequivocally. Slavery, for him, is the central category, the “starting point” for understanding colonial Brazil: “This difference consists in the fact that [Fernando] Novais and [João Manuel] Cardoso de Mello depart from the global colonial system as a totality that determines the content of social formation in Brazil, while I begin my analysis with the colonial slave mode of production, to whose own dynamics I attribute a fundamental determination”.[xiii]

In opposition to Caio Prado Jr.'s well-known definition, he proposed that the colony had an intrinsic “meaning”. Gorender thus reversed the Marxist logic and argued, to the applause of Mário Maestri, that “the production relations of the colonial economy need to be studied from the inside out”[xiv].

This logic led him to interpret that the internal economic structure of current Brazil had achieved such autonomy, which engendered an original mode of production, qualitatively different from those that had emerged before:

It is therefore necessary to conclude that the colonial slave mode of production is inexplicable as a synthesis of pre-existing modes of production, in the case of Brazil […] Colonial slavery emerged as a mode of production with new characteristics, previously unknown in human history[xlv].

Mário Maestri uses a play on words to oppose “new characteristics” to “completely new”, avoiding going into the content of the problem. I don't intend to play this sterile game. Suffice it to say that, if the content of the idea is that “colonial slavery” was a specific mode of production with characteristics “before unknown in human history”, it is not abusive to conclude that the author is proposing the appearance of something completely new for humanity .

The academic from Rio Grande do Sul defends himself by saying that the study of production relations “from the inside out” would mean “starting from the concrete – means of production, production relations, mode of production, social formation”. Obviously, the above is something “concrete”. That's not the discussion. The point is that it is the concretization of a particularity inserted in and conditioned by the universality of the process of genesis, development and subsequent hegemonic imposition of the capitalist mode of production in Europe, but also in colonial spaces. The problem is not in considering “the concrete”, but in wanting to transform the part into a totality, attributing to it, as Gorender himself admits, “a fundamental determination”.

To demonstrate the specificity of “colonial slavery”, Mário Maestri goes on to explain the different forms of slavery in history, to conclude that: “The mode of “colonial slave production” had great identities with those in force in Greco-Roman societies, since he was a “slaver”. But it also had substantial diversities, or “specific laws” trends, which determined that it was a “historically new” mode of production, dependent on the colonial market – hence its adjective “colonial””.

This parenthesis is unnecessary, since the differences between ancient and modern slavery are evident, fundamentally because both were based on different degrees of development of productive forces.

However, considered as a whole, both forms of forced labor maintained a main characteristic, common to every slave society: the slave was at the same time fixed capital and commodity; the labor market was supplied by robberies that “purely and simply constitute acts of appropriation of labor power through blatant physical violence”.[xlv]

From this perspective, it is abusive to present it as “unknown” to humanity. Such a statement is nothing more than a forced attempt to justify a degree of autonomy such that the “fundamental determination” would be given by the originality of colonial slavery, and not by the world economy.

Cardoso-Gorender-Maestri's crass methodological error lies in overstating the phenomenon, losing sight of the totality and universalizing particularity, something that has nothing in common with Marxism and, on the contrary, comes dangerously close to the postmodern method. .

Although they point out that “colonial slavery” was “dependent” on the “international market”, or that the “colonial market” constituted the “assumption” of this mode of production, these elements are soon abstracted from their conclusions. The problem lies in the fact that, as we criticized above, the content and dynamics of this so-called “international market” are never defined and, in short, appear as something separate from the process of global capitalist accumulation.

This is so true that Mário Maestri goes so far as to reject my statement that “(…) the 'internal structure' of American colonial economies cannot be explained outside this process of expansion of the capitalist system”.

Gorender-Maestri end up underestimating the complex metropolis-colony relationship and the link with the world market dominated by commercial capital. They are unaware of the fact that the bulk of the production extracted from the American colonies, with all its particularities, was not carried out mostly in the colonies, but outside them, since they were subject to the metropolises and, therefore, at the mercy of development. inequality of European capitalism.

Modern slavery – with its hateful brutality –, in this context, was an economic necessity derived both from the interest in expanding production to a market that had ceased to be just “European”, and from the scarcity of native labor in the Americas. It was a process similar to the “second European serfdom” that Engels spoke of.[xlv]. Forced labor, in different forms, became something imperative in the process of primitive capital accumulation.

Marx points out this economic role of modern slavery as the basis of modern industry: “Slavery is an economic category like any other. Therefore, it also has its two sides. Let's leave the bad side and talk about the good side of slavery. It goes without saying that we are only dealing with direct slavery, that of black people in Suriname, in Brazil, in the southern states of North America. Direct slavery is the foundation of bourgeois industry, as are machines, credit, etc. Without slavery, we would not have cotton; Without cotton, we would not have modern industry. It was slavery that made the colonies more valuable; it was the colonies that created universal trade; and universal commerce is the precondition of great industry. For this reason, slavery is an economic category of the highest importance. […] Modern people managed only to disguise slavery in their own countries, but they imposed it without disguise in the New World.”[xlviii]

As we have seen, it is obvious that “…American slave production was not prompted by capitalist production, nor was it organized to sustain it…”, following a kind of “master plan”, but this is a static view of the process. History did not stop in the 16th or 17th century. In other words, what Marx puts into misery of philosophy is that Western Europe imposed modern slavery to boost the large-scale production of exchange values ​​to fuel universal trade and, in doing so, ended up encouraging the development of industry and capitalism in their countries.

Mário Maestri, lost in the realm of particularities, does not understand that European commercial and colonial expansion will be the historical inflection point, the “starting point”, the crucial moment in which the capitalist mode of production, still in a germinal state, but representing the “new”, will find the favorable context in which, it will tend to expand its conditions of existence, penetrating the pores of conquered societies and, gradually, destroying archaic production relations, regardless of whether it has used them for its own benefit by a more or less prolonged period.

Marx explicitly states the conditions that marked “the dawn of the era of capitalist production”: “The discovery of gold and argent lands in America, the extermination, enslavement and burial of the native population in mines, the beginning of conquest and plunder of the East Indies, the transformation of Africa into a reserve for the commercial hunting of black furs characterize the dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic processes constitute fundamental moments of primitive accumulation. They are immediately followed by the trade war between European nations, with the globe as the stage. It was inaugurated by the uprising in the Netherlands against Spanish domination, assumed gigantic proportions in the English anti-Jacobin war and continues today in the opium wars against China, etc.”[xlix]

If Maestri abandoned his method and analyzed this entire movement “from the outside in”, he would realize that “the transformation of Africa into a reserve for the commercial hunting of black skins” and modern slavery itself in Brazil and other parts of the world were not at all “fundamental determination”, but rather that they existed, as Marx proposes, “as an anomaly within a world market founded on free labor”.

Gorender-Maestri's logic leads us to a dead end. If we were consistent with the analysis “from the inside out” and with the attribution of a “fundamental determination” to the internal structure of each colonial space, we would arrive at such an absurd analytical fragmentation that we would have to speak of a “colonial orders regime”, “mita potosina colonial”, “yanaconazgo colonial”, “finger hooking system colonial”, “colonial despotic-tributary mode of production”, “colonial despotic-village mode of production” and so on, until “exhausting” the most varied particularities and their nuances.

As much as he displeases Mário Maestri, Jacob Gorender did not “overcome” any impasse or resolve any controversy. Unfortunately, the problem is too complex to be resolved by an “adjective”, however “creative” it may be.

A “social revolution” in Brazil?

Trapped in his scheme that the “colonial slave” mode of production, in itself, determined Brazilian sociopolitical dynamics, Jacob Gorender proposes that “Abolition was the only social revolution that ever occurred in the history of our country”,[l] since it ended the slave-based social formation and represented a “profound transformation in the economic structure”.[li]

However, Gorender himself admits that the latifundium remained intact and that “the highest form of slave struggle consisted of escaping from the farms, which took place mainly in São Paulo (…)”, a fact that “incapacitated” them for “the struggle for land ownership, despite expressing aspirations in this regard”[liiii].

I do not question that the legal abolition of black slavery in 1888 “untangled” the “diffusion of capitalist relations of production”[iii], as Gorender points out, and even if, in Maestri’s words, it dealt “(…) the final blow to dominant production for more than three centuries, giving way to diverse production relations supported by the free worker”. Although extremely late, it was a very progressive change. That's clear.

The problem is to determine whether the way in which this change occurred really entailed “… the only social revolution that has ever occurred in the History…” of Brazil, as Gorender proposes and Mário Maestri repeats.

Well, let's put this thesis to the test.

Knowing that the definition of “revolution” is controversial, my reference will be that of Trotsky: “The most undoubted characteristic of a revolution is the direct interference of the masses in historical events. […] in those crucial moments, when the old order no longer becomes resistant to the masses, they break the barriers that excluded them from the political arena, overthrow their traditional representatives and create on their own initiative the starting point of a new regime [...] ] The history of a revolution is for us, first of all, the history of the violent entry of the masses into the domain of decision-making over their own destiny.”[book]

On the other hand, I assume that every “social revolution” has a class character, determined by the historical era and the nature of its tasks, as well as a revolutionary social subject. I suppose Mr. Maestri agrees with this premise.

In Brazil in 1888, “then a pre-national country”, as Mário Maestri describes, we could not conceive the idea of ​​a proletarian revolution. I have no doubt that my critic feels the same way.

In this case, the abolitionist “social revolution” that Gorender speaks of could only be a bourgeois-democratic revolution, powerful enough to achieve a “profound transformation in the economic structure”[lv].

At the end of the 19th century, history had already shown that a bourgeois-democratic anti-slavery revolution admitted the possibility that the enslaved themselves, the main exploited and oppressed social sector, would rise to the status of revolutionary subjects. The question is: was this the case in the process that resulted in the brief Law No. 3.353 of May 13, 1888, signed by Princess Isabel, and which legally abolished slavery in Brazil?

Has anything comparable to the “violent entry of the masses into the domain of deciding their own destiny” happened? Can it be said, Mr. Maestri, that May 13th was the product of something at least similar to a black, social and radical revolution, like the Haitian case? Or perhaps there was, without our knowledge, something on a smaller scale, but similar to the American civil war, in which the enslaved, although confined to the limits of the Union army, participated en masse in a bloody armed struggle that, at a certain point, became abolitionist?

The facts, unfortunately, do not allow such a statement. Neither Gorender nor Maestri go to such an extreme. The first, as we mentioned, recognizes that “the highest form of slave struggle was the escape from the farms…”, a bold and important movement, but limited, if what is intended to demonstrate is a “social revolution” led by the enslaved themselves. . The second states that: “…the class of enslaved workers, the main agent of this transformation, had been in strong regression for decades”.

In short, they propose a “social revolution” never seen in Brazilian history, but which simply did not face the problem of land nor did it have the enslaved – who according to Mário Maestri himself had been “for decades, in strong regression” – as a social subject. .

In this scenario, the question remains as to which social class led Gorender's “social revolution”.

If every revolution needs a social subject and, as we agree, the enslaved themselves were not, this role could only fall to the abolitionist bourgeoisie, or, at least, to a sector of it.

Although an enraged Maestri, with almost no arguments, resorts to such a low provocation as associating myself with the theses of the slavers and Gilberto Freyre, who defend the idea of ​​a supposed “historical passivity of black people” in Brazil, it is necessary to reaffirm: the fixation on “colonial slavery” as a “fundamental determination” induced Gorender to let go of the idea that the Brazilian abolitionist bourgeoisie had played a revolutionary role in national history. Mário Maestri, stumbling back, tries to clarify the issue by saying that Gorender spoke of a “revolutionary transition” or “intermodal transitions”, when, verbatim, he affirms the existence of a “social revolution”.

However, Maestri does not seem willing to question Gorender's statement. On the contrary, in his imagination, anyone who points out the “limits” of the institutional process of abolition or refuses to accept the “social revolution” of the former PCB leader would be embracing “visions outside of history” and adhering to the racist theses of Gilberto Freyre and other slavers.

As for the social subject, Gorender himself asks: “what role did the bourgeoisie play in transformations of such great magnitude?”, and then highlights the role of “…abolitionist militancy of traders and industrialists”. Later, he conjectures that, although the banking bourgeoisie had been hostile or fearful towards abolition, “it can be assumed, by the logic of class interests, that the industrial bourgeoisie should take an opposite attitude”.[lv], that is, favorable to the “social revolution” that he proposes.

It is obvious that, as Mário Maestri writes, “if a faction of the industrial-manufacturing bourgeoisie supported abolitionism, it did have a 'progressive role', albeit insignificant”. The problem is that the social subject of a “social revolution”, Gorender’s proposal, does not “just” play a progressive role, much less an “insignificant” one; plays a revolutionary role. Let's not play hide and seek, Maestri: it's one thing to play a progressive role, it's quite another to play the role of a revolutionary subject.

But the problems with the “social revolution” thesis of 1888, at least in the terms proposed by Gorender-Maestri, do not stop there. If there had really been a social revolution of a democratic-bourgeois-abolitionist nature, which had eradicated slavery, it would be expected that the capitalism that emerged from this process would carry few or no traces of the “colonial slave mode of production” or, as he writes Gorender, of other “already exhausted forms of exploration”[lviii].

If we accepted for a few minutes the former Stalinist leader's thesis, we should ask ourselves: if a bourgeois-democratic revolution of a social nature had actually taken place in the 19th century, what would be the outstanding or unfinished democratic tasks that should be incorporated into the program of the socialist revolution? Brazilian? According to Gorender's scheme, it would be legitimate to assume that few or none. This conclusion, consistent with the (false) idea of ​​a “social revolution” never seen in Brazil, contains the danger of a profound programmatic and political error in the present.

On the other hand, if we assume the premise that Brazil was shaken, in 1888, by an abolitionist social revolution, it is very difficult to explain the calamitous context, for the former captives, of the post-abolition period, in which they were abandoned to their own luck, no land, employment, decent housing, formal education, etc. It is clear that no bourgeois revolution, not even the most radical, was carried out in the name of the dispossessed and oppressed. However, if a kind of victorious black revolution had occurred, it would not be unreasonable to expect that it would imply a higher degree of material and democratic achievements that, although ephemeral, would leave their marks on Brazilian society.

Gorender's thesis, despite the good intention of attributing “centrality” to the enslaved in history, is not consistent with the facts and is, therefore, incoherent, inconsistent and false.

Because one of the reasons for the heavy legacy of racism that corrodes Brazilian society and justifies the permanent policy of extermination of its black population has its roots in the way abolition took place, which, regrettably, did not mean any revolution.

Mr. Maestri, this is not to deny the enormous importance of the struggles of the enslaved for their freedom. Don't try to resolve differences with childish teasing. The role of black resistance since the 1888th century is unquestionable: escapes, sabotage, suicides, armed rebellions, etc. Therefore, the racist myth that abolition was “peaceful” and that it occurred due to the benevolence of a white princess is unacceptable. As I state in another work: “[around XNUMX…] slavery was in the process of disintegration due to a combination of factors: international pressure to end the slave trade and the countless struggles of the slaves themselves, which were corroding it from within… ”.[lviii]

The fear that abolition would awaken the “demon of revolution”, that is, that it would lead to a popular questioning not only of slavery itself, but also of the latifundiary structure and the hardships derived from class society, mobilized important property sectors. At a certain point, faced with the profound crisis of slavery, a good part of the dominant classes relocated and began to defend abolition with the pragmatic criterion of “let's do it ourselves, before they do it”… Precisely because of black resistance, Mr. . Maestri!

It was precisely the fear of “the economic inconveniences that the English and French Antilles experienced (…the) horrors of São Domingos…”, as Joaquim Nabuco wrote, that gave late Brazilian abolitionism a character that was not only conservative and conciliatory, but also preventive.

The Brazilian bourgeoisie, as so many times in national history, was able to anticipate a potential black social revolution and, with greater or lesser surprises, guaranteed a gradual, institutional transition far from any social turbulence with unpredictable consequences. “This is how – wrote Nabuco – in Parliament and not in the farms or quilombos of the interior, nor in the streets and squares of the cities, that the cause of freedom will be won, or lost”.[lix] This was the path, reformist and catpardist, that was imposed. A solution that also had the blessing of British imperialism. Not a “social revolution”, as Gorender romanticizes in light of Maestri’s exaltation.

In short, the growing strength of the struggle of the enslaved and the danger that abolition would occur “on farms or quilombos in the interior” led the strongest bourgeois abolitionist sectors to preventively redouble their efforts in search of a “controlled” abolition from up. These proprietary fractions, in their own way, played a progressive role in the context of the 19th century, but not revolutionary. In other words, there was resistance and all kinds of heroic struggles on the part of the captives, but, unfortunately, these did not result in a process of social revolution, much less with black protagonism and violent methods.

Thus, the extremely late and “controlled” way in which abolition took place prevented any reparation and restricted basic democratic rights. It guaranteed absolutely nothing to the enslaved people freed in 1888. There was no policy of granting land, employment or housing. Anything. The bourgeoisie managed to control the process and direct it towards a gradual transition, always with the support of British imperialism.

The hypothesis that, in the case of a “social revolution”, the insertion of former captives into Brazilian semi-colonial capitalism would have been, at least, quantitatively different, is not “demagoguery”, as Maestri writes. Demagoguery is preaching the existence of a social revolution that never occurred. The ideological fight against the thesis of the “passivity” of black people in Brazilian history, although fair and necessary, does not authorize distorting the facts. Something like this, in addition to preventing us from accurately extracting the lessons of history, distorts the program and policy in the present.

Developed to its ultimate consequences, in programmatic terms, the idea of ​​a non-existent social revolution leads to important omissions or disregards. Precisely because abolition occurred gradually and controlled by the oligarchy, that is, through the institutionality of the owners, reality imposes a set of democratic and anti-racist tasks that the workers' and socialist program must incorporate.

From the “quotas”, which Mário Maestri himself opposes,[lx] passing through effective reparations in terms of racial and social equality. Democratic tasks that, in the middle of an imperialist era, only a socialist revolution, with the proletariat at the head of the other exploited and oppressed sectors, can accomplish.

*Ronald Leon Núñez he holds a doctorate in history from USP. Author, among other books, of The War against Paraguay under debate (Sundermann). [https://amzn.to/48sUSvJ]

Translation: Diego Russo.


[I] MAESTRI, Mario. The colonization of the Americas under debate. Available in: https://aterraeredonda.com.br/a-colonizacao-das-americas-em-debate/. All references to Maestri, unless otherwise indicated, refer to this text.

[ii] NÚÑEZ, Ronald L. The War against Paraguay under debate. São Paulo: Sundermann, 2021, pp. 27-77.

[iii] FRANK, André G. Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America. Mexico: Siglo XXI, 1970, pp. 3, 5, 10.

[iv] Nahuel Moreno [1924-1987]: Argentine Trotskyist leader and theorist, founder of the current International Workers League (LIT-QI).

[v] MORENO, Nahuel [1948]. Four thesis on Spanish and Portuguese colonization in America. Available in:https://www.marxists.org/espanol/moreno/obras/01_nm.htm>.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii]  Regarding the dynamics of the process, it can be said that Moreno's analysis is close to the well-known definitions of Caio Prado Jr. and Fernando Novais.

[viii]  Ibid. Unless otherwise noted, all highlights are ours.

[ix] MORENO, Nahuel [1975]. Method of interpretation of Argentine history. Buenos Aires: El Socialista, 2012, pp. 31-32.

[X] PRADO Jr., Caio. Formation of contemporary Brazil. São Paulo: Brasiliense, 2000, pp. 20-21.

[xi] MARX, Carl. The capital. Volume I. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2013, p. 960.

[xii] MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich [1848]. Communist Manifesto. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2010, p. 41.

[xiii] MARX, Karl. The capital. Volume I…, op. cit., p. 988.

[xiv] MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. the german ideology: criticism of the latest German philosophy in its representatives Feuerbach, B. Bauer and Stirner, and of German socialism in its different prophets. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2007, p. 57.

[xv] MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich [1848]. Communist Manifesto…, op. cit., p. 41.

[xvi] ENGELS, Friedrich. The origin of the family, private property and the State. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2019, p. 80.

[xvii] MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Materials for the history of America…, op. cit., p. 46.

[xviii] MARX, Carl. Theories of Surplus Value. Volume II. São Paulo: Difel, 1983, p. 730.

[xx] MARX, Carl. floorplans. Economic manuscripts of 1857-1858. Outlines of the critique of political economy. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2011, p. 684.

[xx] MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. the german ideology…, op. cit., p. 57.

[xxx] Ibid.

[xxiii] MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich [1848]. Communist Manifesto…, op. cit., p. 41.

[xxiii] MAESTRI, Mario. In search of a lost feudal Brazil. Available in:https://aterraeredonda.com.br/em-busca-de-um-brasil-feudal-perdido/>.

[xxv]       VAID, Dharv. 50 million people trapped in modern slavery. Available in:https://www.dw.com/es/50-millones-de-personas-atrapadas-en-la-esclavitud-moderna/a-65831282>.

[xxiv]       MORENO, Nahuel [1948]. Four theses on colonization…, op. cit.

[xxv]       NEWACK, George. Uneven and combined development in history. São Paulo: Editora Sundermann, 2008, p. 90.

[xxviii]      MORENO, Nahuel [1948]. Four theses on colonization…, op. cit.

[xxviii]     Ibid.

[xxix]       GORENDER, Jacob [1978]. colonial slavery. 6th ed. São Paulo: Expressão Popular-Perseu Abramo, 2016.

[xxx]       MAESTRI, Mario. colonial slavery: The Copernican Revolution by Jacob Gorender. Genesis, Recognition, Delegitimization. IHU notebooks. Year 3, no. 13, 2005, p. 9.

[xxxii]       TRACK EH What is history. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1987, p. 24.

[xxxi]      FREIRE, Alipio; VENCESLAU, Paulo de Tarso. Jacob Gorender. Available in:https://teoriaedebate.org.br/1990/07/01/jacob-gorender/>.

[xxxii]     Apparently, Maestri also regrets the “destruction of the Stalinized USSR”, given that it would have triggered the “victory of the global counter-revolutionary tide of the 1990s”.

[xxxv]     GORENDER, Jacob. Marxism without utopia. São Paulo: Attica, 1999, p. 9.

[xxxiv]      Ibid.

[xxxiv]     Ditto, p. 33.

[xxxviii]    Same, pp. 37-38.

[xxxviii]    MAESTRI, Mario. Centenary of the Birth of Jacob Gorender. Available in:https://aterraeredonda.com.br/centenario-do-nascimento-de-jacob-gorender/.

[xxxix]     NÚÑEZ, Ronald L. The War against Paraguay…, op. cit., p.75.

[xl]          Ditto, p.63.

[xi]         CARDOSO, Ciro F. Severo Martínez Peláez and character of the colonial regime. In: ASSADOURIAN, Carlos, et al. Production modes in Latin America. Córdoba: Cuadernos Pasado y Presente, 1974, p. 102.

[xliii]        GORENDER, Jacob [1978]. colonial slavery…, op. cit., p. 22.

[xiii]       GORENDER, Jacob [1981]. The Brazilian bourgeoisie. 3rd ed. 2nd reprint. São Paulo: Brasiliense, 2004, p. 7.

[xiv]       Ditto, p. 21.

[xlv]        GORENDER, Jacob [1978]. colonial slavery. 3rd ed. São Paulo: Ática, 1980, p. 54. Highlighted in the original.

[xlv]       MARX, Karl [1859]. Contribution to the critique of political economy. Buenos Aires: Estudio, 1970, p. 210.

[xlv]       Engels explained that in the 16th century there was a “new upsurge” of feudalism in much of Eastern Europe, with the aim of producing wool and other raw materials for the manufacturing development of Western Europe. Thus, the serf saw his subjection to the land reinforced by force, to produce on a large scale for the Western market. This process would be a foreshadowing of what would occur, in an expanded way, in the New World. Consult: MAZZEO, Antônio. Colonial slavery: mode of production or social formation? Brazilian History Magazine. São Paulo, vol. 6, no. 12, 1986, p. 211.

[xlviii]      MARX, Carl. Misery of philosophy. Available in:https://www.marxists.org/espanol/m-e/1847/miseria/005.htm>

[xlix]       MARX, Carl. The capital. Volume I…, op. cit., p.988.

[l]           GORENDER, Jacob [1981]. The Brazilian bourgeoisie…, op. cit., p. 21.

[li]          Ibid.

[liiii]          Ditto, p. 22.

[iii]         Ibid.

[book]         TROTSKY, Leon. History of the Russian Revolution. São Paulo: Sundermann, 2007, p. 9.

[lv]          GORENDER, Jacob [1981]. The Brazilian bourgeoisie…, op. cit., p. 21.

[lv]         Ditto, p. 23.

[lviii]        Ditto, p. 22.

[lviii]       NÚÑEZ, Ronald L. May 13, 1888: a racist narrative about the abolition of slavery in Brazil. Available in:https://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/suplementos/cultural/2020/05/17/13-de-mayo-de-1888-una-narrativa-racista-sobre-la-abolicion-de-la-esclavitud-en-brasil/>

[lix]         NABUCO, Joaquim. abolitionism. São Paulo: Publifolha, 2000, pp. 12-29.

[lx]          BRAZILIAN COMMUNIST PARTY. The Racial Program of Capital and Labor for Brazilian Society. Available in:https://pcb.org.br/portal2/628>.

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